Monday, June 8, 2009

Shopping with my father

My motto is that I don’t shop for pleasure. The only things I enjoy buying are food and books and toys (magnets, water buffaloes, legos—all thrift store brought). I realized I have been lying to myself when I went shopping with my father. He makes shopping fun. We went looking for a vacuum filter on Sunday. The bunny we babysat for had peed and pooped all over our townhouse’s living room carpet and when we vacuumed up the nastiness, the dampness had set into the filter and rendered it dead—or suffocated it to such a degree that future vacuuming ventures created enormous billows of dust. Hence, we went to Lowe’s and Super-duper Walmart to get a replacement filter.

In Lowes we walked all over and I had the chance to ooo and aahh over how enormous the shelves are and how I feel like Jack in the giant’s castle. We found the shelves of filters and shrieked at the prospect of spending $30 or $25 for the wrong kinds of filters.

We exited the giant’s castle and entered Walmart, the giant’s dollhouse. We went looking for the vacuums section and I lost my father. I had turned around to backtrack and look at something and when I turned around, my dear father was gone. I looked and strolled and gave up after three minutes. I had no cell phone on me, but I knew that I would find him—by his coughing or the way he talks to himself as he analyzes prices or by the fact that he just yells my name when I’ve disappeared for too long.

I went over the posters section, because I wanted to find a movie poster of Heavy Metal, because of the gorgeous warrior chick featured on it. I should have known a 1981 movie poster would not be there, but I hoped. Instead, I saw posters with babes in bikinis, Twilight, messaging shorthand, Twilight, guitar fingerings, Twilight, babes in bikinis, Twilight, wrestling champs, Twilight. And heard my father calling my name and so used my powerful sense of echo-location to locate my father, who was standing in the vacuum section. We shrieked furiously at the prospect of spending $20 or $15 for a new vacuum filter. Then my father used his considerable find a cheaper solution powers and we ventured forth into the air conditioning filters section. It was here that we combined our powers of bargain detection and found a $4 filter which could be cut up to fit vacuum’s filter compartment. Triumphant, we exited Walmart and went home. Our dear vacuum still coughs a little dust, but much less.

I think the reason I do not like to shop is that I can expect to spend a lot of money. I can expect to enter the store, grab a shopping cart, and if I want panties or soap or jello, I roll my cart to the shelves labeled thus, and then I have to stand there among numerous brands and look and look and read labels, trying to calculate the benefits of cost verses how carcinogenic is this brand of soap? Booorrrriiiiinnngg!! Stuuuuupidd!! I don’t want numerous options—I want to learn to think. I want to escape the system. I want to stand there and say—Ha, so you companies think you can make me buy your $30 vacuum filter or your $5 teeth whitening tooth paste or your $5 soap that can peel the dirt off of me—well, I have another solution! I can fix up an air conditioning filter to fit my vacuum. I can brush my teeth with tree bark. I can use dishwashing soap to bathe in.

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